As the arbitrary human dates role on, it’s as good a time as any to pause and look back. Birthdays are good for this, so are anniversaries, festivals and the like. Looking back is always helpful. Seeing the path behind can give you some insight about where you might be heading and whether that was where you wanted to go. Stuff living entirely in the moment! I want to travel from past to future by ways, means and trajectories that are at least somewhat of my choosing.
I learned some important lessons about the limits of my health, strength and endurance. I learned that if I want to do more, I also have to rest more, and for that to work I need to be more selective and say ‘no’ to things sometimes. I have to get better at choosing my fights and causes and selecting where to deploy energy and how to value various options.
I thought for a while that I should be pouring more energy into politics. I even went so far as to put my name in the hat as a possible candidate for next year’s general election, but I didn’t make it through the Party selection stage. Having spent a lot of time working out whether that was a course I could really throw heart and soul into, I was a bit adrift when that didn’t work out. It may well be that I am better on the outside of the system, as commentator, protestor, and general nuisance. There’s more room for more voices on the outside, and the process made me realise how few people have any real voice at all in conventional politics.
I learned, and relearned the value of stopping, working closely with friends in Contemplative Druidry to learn again about slowing down. That’s going to be a big part of what I do (or perhaps more accurately what I don’t do) moving forwards.
I learned to make rag rugs. I also learned that the quality of my thinking and writing are much improved by spending time on crafts projects. If I want to write, then I need to craft. This works well for me, and is a general happiness improver.
Like many people, I am increasingly horrified and prone to despair when faced with the bigger picture. The sheer scale of what humanity is getting wrong right now is unbearable, and my feelings of futility in face of it have knocked my down more times than I can count in the last twelve months. I can’t single handedly save the world. I know this. I am not one of the world’s wealthiest, able to sort vast problems out just by throwing money at them. I am not a politician, able to change laws and inform cultures. I’m not a world famous author able to get millions of people to sit up and take note. So, there is nothing I can do easily or quickly, and there is not much point wasting energy on trying to be rich, famous or powerful enough to make a difference because frankly I don’t have much natural capacity for any of those things. I don’t have the right kinds of drives and ambitions, talents, skills or experiences to draw on.
I have to work with what I’ve got. All I can do is live my values to the very best of my abilities, and talk about that in the hopes that I can support others who are doing the same and help a few people move in this direction. Small ripples in a very big pond. And of course I can pray for humanity. Even as someone who isn’t very good at faith, I am uneasily aware that we are running out of time such that it will require divine intervention, or similar, to save us from ourselves. In the meantime, there is nothing to do but live as well as I can.